Jaques-Dalcroze, Emile 1865-1950

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JAQUES-DALCROZE, Emile 1865-1950

PERSONAL: Original name Emile-Henri Jaques; born July 6, 1865, in Vienna, Austria; died July 1, 1950, in Geneva, Switzerland; son of Jules-Louis (a clockmaker's representative) and Julie Jaques. Education: Studied at the Geneva Conservatory (Geneva, Switzerland), 1877-83; studied music in Vienna and Paris, under Talbot, Fauré, Lavignac, Marmontel, Lussy, Graedener, Prosnitz, Fuchs, and Bruckner, 1884-91.

CAREER: Educator and composer. Geneva Conservatory, Geneva, Switzerland, professor of harmony, 1892-1910; ran a school in Hellerau, Germany, 1910-14; Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Geneva, founder and director, 1914-50. Developed rhythmic training method known as Eurythmics; composed songs, choral works, operas, and operettas, including Riquet à la houppe (1883), Onkel Dazumal (1905), Les jumeaux de Bergame (1908), and Sancho Pança (1897); also composed for orchestra, chamber orchestra, and piano.


Le coeur chante: Impressions d'un musicien, [Geneva, Switzerland], 1900.

Vorschläge zur Reform des musikalischen Schulunterrichts, [Zurich, Germany], 1905.

La respiration et l'innervation musculaire, [Paris, France], 1906.

Méthode Jaques-Dalcroze, [Paris, France], 1906-07.

Rhythmische gymnastik, Sandoz, Jobin (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), 1907.

The Eurythmics of Jaques-Dalcroze, Constable (London, England), 1912.

La rythmique, [Lausanne, Switzerland], 1916-17.

Le rhythme, la musique et l'education, [Paris, France], 1919, translation by Harold F. Rubenstein published as Rhythm, Music, and Education, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 1921.

The Jaques-Dalcroze Method of Eurythmics, H. W. Gray (New York, NY), 1920.

Eurythmics, Art, and Education, translation by Frederick Rothwell (New York, NY), 1930.

Rhythmics Movement, [London, England], 1931.

Coordination et disordination des mouvements corporels: exercices pour l'harmonisation des actes moteurs spontanés et volontaires et le développement de la concentration, A. Leduc (Paris, France), 1935.

Métrique et rhythmique, H. Lemoine (Paris, France), 1937.

Souvenirs, notes et critiques, V. Attinger (Paris, France), 1942.

La musique et nous: notes de notre double vie, Perret-Gentil (Geneva, Switzerland), 1945.

Notes bariolées, [Geneva, Switzerland], 1948.

SIDELIGHTS: Emile Jaques-Dalcroze was an Austrian composer and educator who became internationally known as the creator of "eurythmics" (as it was called in English) during the early twentieth century. He developed a method of responding to music with the body that was designed to improve a student's appreciation of musical qualities such as rhythm, phrasing, and dynamics. The discipline was based on Jaques-Dalcroze's belief that a kinesthetic or whole-body experience of music would improve the individual's intellectual understanding and ability to perform music. Jaques-Dalcroze's writings, including the translations Eurythmics, Art, and Education and Rhythm, Music, and Education, are focused on teaching. As a composer, he was inspired by Swiss folk music and was considered a highly imaginative, talented artist.

During the 1890s Jaques-Dalcroze began creating movements which he called rhythmic gymnastics for his students at the Geneva Conservatory. His students moved and made music with their bodies in work that initially incorporated singing, breathing, walking, and beating time. Jaques-Dalcroze later connected music with movements such as lunging, skipping, pulling a partner, and carrying an imaginary weight. While he played at a keyboard, Jaques-Dalcroze asked his students to respond to changes in the music. Their steps often corresponded to rhythmic patterns, while the breath was connected to phrasing and dynamics.

Jaques-Dalcroze began giving lectures with demonstrations and in 1906 he published Méthode Jaques-Dalcroze in French and German. After the conservatory declined to let Jaques-Dalcroze offer classes in rhythmic gymnastics, he created a school in Hellerau, Germany in 1910. Two years later, the specially constructed school was expanded to include performance space where Jaques-Dalcroze produced Glück's Orfeus. His work at Hellerau involved hundreds of teachers and students, and course work included solfège (ear training), keyboard improvisation, music theory and practice, rhythmic gymnastics, Swedish gymnastics, dance, and anatomy. Jaques-Dalcroze did not equate eurythmics with dancing, but he taught numerous dancers as well as musicians; they included Marie Rambert, who worked with Nijinsky and the Ballet Russes, Michio Ita, Hanya Holm, Kurt Joos, and Mary Wigman. American dancers influenced by eurythmics included Ruth St. Denis and Doris Humphrey.

The Hellerau school closed at the start of World War I, when Jaques-Dalcroze criticized German militarism. He went to Geneva and continued to teach at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze until his death in 1950. His method was also taught in special schools in London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, New York, and Chicago, among others. The Institut Jaques-Dalcroze subsequently became a state-supported school and Jaques-Dalcroze's methods continue to be taught in countries aound the world.



Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

International Dictionary of Modern Dance, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.*